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Oswego Career Ladders - Surgical Technician

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Surgical Technician

Industry: Healthcare
Area: Nursing and Direct Patient Care

Surgical technicians assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. Before an operation, surgical technicians help prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment, sterile drapes, and sterile solutions. Technicians also get patients ready for surgery by washing, shaving, and disinfecting incision sites. They transport patients to the operating room, help position them on the operating table, and cover them with sterile surgical drapes." Technicians also observe patients vital signs, check charts, and assist the surgical team with putting on sterile gowns and gloves. During surgery, technicians pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and surgeon assistants. They may hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies and instruments. They help prepare, care for, and dispose of specimens taken for laboratory analysis and help apply dressings. Some operate sterilizers, lights or suction machines. After an operation, technicians may help transfer patients to the recovery room and clean and restock the operating room.

Work Settings

Almost three-quarters of surgical technicians are employed by hospitals, mainly in operating and delivery rooms. Others are employed in clinics and surgical centers, and in the offices of physicians and dentists who perform outpatient surgery.


Surgical technicians receive their training in formal programs offered by community and junior colleges, vocational schools, universities, hospitals, and the military. In 2005, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) recognized more than 400 accredited programs. Programs last from 9 to 24 months and lead to a certificate, diploma, or associate degree. High school graduation normally is required for admission. Recommended high school courses include health, biology, chemistry, and mathematics.

Job Outlook

20 percent increase over the next 10 years


$20,000 - $40,000(NYS Avg. $28,360)

Work Schedule

Most work a 40-hour week although they may be on call or work nights, weekends and holidays on a rotating basis

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